Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and capital of Gauteng province, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. Its sprawling Soweto township was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Other Soweto museums that recount the struggle to end segregation include the somber Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, a former prison complex. Commonly known as Jo’burg or Jozi, this rapidly changing city is the vibrant heart of South Africa. After almost 20 years of decline and decay, Johannesburg is now looking optimistically towards the future. Its center is smartening up and new loft apartments and office developments are being constructed at a rapid pace. The hipster-friendly neighborhood of Maboneng is considered one of the most successful urban renewal projects in the world. However, the wealth divide remains stark, and crime and poverty haven't been eliminated.
Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain. Slowly rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, from which there are sweeping views of the city, the busy harbor, and boats heading for Robben Island, the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela, which is now a living museum. A coming-together of cultures, cuisines, and landscapes, there's nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park.